You could benefit from additional resources to traditional grid-sourced energy.
Distributed energy resources (DER) are growing in both popularity and access. Understanding the components and advantages of this technology is vital for homeowners and landlords who could benefit from additional resources to traditional grid-sourced energy.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the varying types of DER or Distributed Energy Resources:
Let’s focus on the most popular form of Distributed Energy Resources or solar-powered systems.
Solar power systems work as an adjunct to traditional coal or petroleum-based resources. Rather than relying solely on the electrical grid, which strains and occasionally buckles during peak demand times such as throughout extreme heatwaves, customers can deploy solar power to boost capacity when needed. Users may also access solar energy under less demanding circumstances, in order to reduce environmental impact.
Solar power access has achieved reliability since its inception in the 19th century. Patents for the process began appearing in the U.S. as early as 1888. The first solar cell was created by Charles Fritts, who coated selenium with a fine layer of gold. He noted that while such primitive cells could only achieve a low conversion rate of one to two percent, it was “continuous and constant.” Since that time, solar cells have grown in conversion ability, with many cells or panels now regularly achieving 15-20 percent efficiency.
While efficiency and output improved steadily during the 20th century, it wasn’t until the energy crisis of the early to mid-1970s (despite significant refinements achieved at Bell Labs in the 1950s, most notably due to the substitution of silicon for selenium) that solar power entered common consciousness. It was at that point that solar cells began their slow but steady incorporation not only into business usage but also as a preferred feature in modern homebuilding.
Between 1994 and 1999, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or NREL, further enhanced solar cell technology to feature gallium indium phosphide and gallium arsenide, which empowered solar cells to achieve 30% conversion efficiency. By the end of the 20th century, the NREL was able to further enhance conversion rates (by the incorporation of thin-film solar cells) to reach a 32% conversion rate of solar energy into power.
At that stage, the home building industry began regularly offering solar panels as a feature in newly built homes. “Do it yourself” building of solar panels became feasible around 2005, while by 2015, paper-thin solar cells became available as a result of advances in industrial printing. The new, thinner cells are ideal for roof tiles or shingles. These film-like strips regularly achieve a rate of 20% conversion power, with a solitary strip offering approximately 50 watts per square meter.
Along with greater accessibility, solar power offers a significant price decrease versus electrical energy. As of 2021, the average price for home energy solar power access is roughly $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), though prices do vary depending on location and market availability. Contrasted with the current rate of $0.13.19 per kWh for electric power, it’s clear that adding solar energy access could not only aid in lower electric energy bills but could also significantly reduce users’ carbon imprint. This makes solar energy ideal for those who are not only cost-conscious but also actively engaged in environmentally friendly practices.
Of further important note is new legislation extending residential solar tax credits, which will remain at 26% for 2021 and 2022, dropping to 22% in 2023. (Legislation is subject to change.) Those currently engaged in the home building process, or homeowners considering alternative Distributed Energy Resource or DER options, might heed these pending changes when considering their timeline for adding solar power to their current power system.
For questions or further information on how solar energy can help power your home, contact Elevation. Elevation is leading the transition from sole reliance on traditional power to access to affordable Distributed Energy Resources for consumers, utilities and enterprises, and can aid in:
For more details, or to learn more about Elevation has to offer you please contact us.